A new study says mental health overall did not worsen during the pandemic.
Researchers looked at 137 studies worldwide to arrive at their findings.
However, the scientists found that the pandemic had a negative impact on women and some other groups.
Most people’s mental health fared reasonably well during the coronavirus pandemic, a surprising new study shows.
The report, published in the peer-reviewed medical journal BMJ, analyzed 137 studies from around the world and found that people’s mental health generally showed no major changes before and after the worst of the coronavirus pandemic.
“The effects of COVID-19 on mental health are more nuanced than the ‘tsunami’ descriptor or other similar terms used by some researchers and in many media articles,” the researchers wrote.
“Instead of a mental health crisis, there was a high degree of resilience at the population level,” they said.
The researchers looked at studies conducted between 2018 and 2019, before China first reported its first coronavirus outbreak to the World Health Organization, and compared those results with studies conducted in 2020 or later on the same groups of people.
They found that most of the changes in mental health symptoms, including symptoms of depression and anxiety, were “close to zero and not statistically significant.”
“Among general population surveys, we found no changes in general mental health or anxiety symptoms, and the worsening of depression symptoms was minimal,” the study said.
The vast majority of the studies analyzed took place in wealthier countries.
However, some groups of people saw their mental health deteriorate.
Women showed worsening psychological symptoms, the report said, although it was in small amounts. The study also noted that the same was true for older adults, college students and those who belonged to a sexual or gender minority group.
“Significant worsening of symptoms in women or female members of the population is of concern,” the study said, adding that women are disproportionately represented in health care and fill the vast majority of family and elder care jobs. The researchers also noted that intimate partner violence against women increased during the pandemic.
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